10/26/11 10:00 AM
The Ohio Machine will be featuring some of the top Ohio High School Lacrosse boys' teams before the start of the high school season in "Ohio High School Lacrosse Rundown."
"Ohio High School Lacrosse Rundown" First Edition: Rocky River High School.
On June 1st 2011, the Rocky River Varsity Lacrosse team was unbeaten heading into the Final Four of the Division II State Playoffs before falling, 17-11, to the perennial power house University School. Instead of dwelling on the tough loss, Rocky River Pirates Head Coach Steve Anderson hopes his team will see this as a learning experience and grow from the loss. “We met a formidable opponent in the semi-finals last year and now we know we can compete at a high level,” said Anderson. “That learning experience is priceless.”
Going into the 2012 season the Pirates have graduated 12 players but expectations are still high for this young squad. “We want to get to the finals and play in the last game for a state championship,” said Anderson. “The foundation is here and we have the mentality to expect to win every game we play.”
For Rocky River, the road back to the semi-finals has already begun. “I’m a big proponent of letting the players play other sports during the offseason,” said Anderson. “I also try to give them as many opportunities to play lacrosse in the offseason as I can.”
New leadership has also begun to develop during the offseason with captains holding meetings and encouraging their underclassman to be better. Anderson hopes that the hard work the Pirates are putting in during the offseason will help them through the first part of the regular season. “Early in the season there will be quite a learning curve for the younger players, but mentally everyone will be on the same page."
Coach Anderson is expecting nine to 10 freshmen to join the squad for the upcoming 2012 season. The team is led by a handful of juniors and seniors who look to fill in for the graduating seniors. Senior Mark Merhige and junior Bobby Perez anchor the attack for the Pirates followed up by midfielders Andreas Tjotjos and Ty Daugstraup, who earned second team All-Ohio honors as a junior last season.
The defense will feature the majority of the newcomers but senior Harris Branch and junior Michael Poe were strong contenders last year and will see a lot of playing time in the spring. Junior goalie Aaron Blossey, who split time in goal last year, will spend even more time in the cage during his final season with the Pirates.
One thing Coach Anderson is seeing as a challenge for the upcoming season is finding someone to share the faceoff duties with Daugstraup, but Anderson expects a competitive position battle as the season nears.
The upcoming season will mark Anderson’s third year as Rocky River’s head coach. Even after only three years Anderson has seen the growth of lacrosse in Ohio. “Everyone talks about how lacrosse is growing and to have it here is pretty fantastic,” said Anderson. “It’s also been very rewarding to see Rocky River lacrosse gain some positive recognition around the state. It means a lot to the kids involved in both the youth and high school programs.”
For Ohio Machine inaugural season tickets, contact the Machine front office at (614) 754-1973 or by visiting www.theohiomachine.com/tickets. Season ticket deposits are available now for only $20.12 with season ticket packages being announced at a later date. Most of the 2012 inaugural season tickets will be priced at $100 for all seven home games.